Founders, investors, marketers and tech enthusiasts will converge this weekend during Black Wall Street: Homecoming, an annual conference honoring the legacy of black entrepreneurship in Durham.  This year the event will be held in conjunction with the Art of Cool Festival and Google for Entrepreneurs Exchange: Black Founders.

The event fosters networking opportunities with expert panels and keynotes designed for early-stage entrepreneurs building startups at the intersection of “content, connections, and culture.”

“This is content aspiring and existing entrepreneurs, professionals and community members need to hear,” said co-founder of Black Wall Street, Dee McDougal to WRAL TechWire. “We’re offering several free sessions, and have a few ‘sponsored’ conference registrations still available.”

Black Wall Street Homecoming was created in 2015 to celebrate downtown Durham’s historic “Black Wall Street” where a hub of black-owned businesses and financial services flourished in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

The fourth annual conference is focused on programming centered around founders across tech, agriculture, sciences, and retail.

This year, 10 companies were selected to participate in the 2018 Google for Entrepreneurs Black Founders Exchange, a week-long intensive immersion program for startups led by founders of color culminating in a pitch presentation. 

Sessions during Black Wall Street Homecoming range in topics geared towards early-stage startups, including reaching customers online, accessing capital, market strategy, pitching to investors, and sustaining wealth among others.

The program also features a fireside chat with Arlan Hamilton of Backstage Capital focusing on her entrepreneurial journey and building Backstage, according to WRAL TechWire.

In partnership with the Art of Cool Festival, Durham’s annual festival featuring local Jazz musicians, founders hope to bring what they call a “SXSW feeling mixed with the sensibilities of Essence Music festival sprinkled with New Orleans Jazz Fest.”

“[The] partnership is a direct reflection of what [Black Wall Street] is about, placing value in black founders,” said Tobias Rose, co-founder of Black Wall Street to IndyWeek.